Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Real Enemy

My husband, Bob, intended to make being an Army officer his career. As an infantry battalion intelligence officer in Vietnam, he came to an understanding of the universal nature of sin.

Part of his job there included searching the bodies of enemy soldiers killed in battle to determine from their personal effects where they had come from. On one body, Bob found a notebook full of detailed drawings of the human anatomy along with a letter. After studying the notebook, the battalion surgeon said it appeared that the dead man had wanted to be an obstetrician. The battalion interpreter determined that the letter was addressed to the young man's fiancee. He wrote of his desire to get married after the war and go to Paris to study medicine.

But the young man who only wanted to bring life into the world was dead. And the intelligence that Bob had gathered had led to this man's death. Neither had wanted to kill anyone. Until then, Bob had thought of sin in terms of the wrongs a person committed personally, such as breaking one of the Ten Commandments. He had believed that being an Army officer and ridding the world of Communism was the best thing he could do to bring peace to this world. In Vietnam, he began to realize that sin, not Communism, was the real enemy.

During his next assignment at a small Army detachment in Rhode Island, Bob became very involved in a home missions church in Providence. In our two years there, the church grew from about two dozen to two hundred as the Jesus Revolution brought many hippies in off the streets in a sovereign move of God. After six years in the Army, Bob was transferred to Arizona for the Intelligence career course. By then, he knew that God was calling us into the ministry. He realized that if every Communist dropped dead tonight, tomorrow the world wouldn't be any different, because sin would still be present. Even if the whole world were a democracy, it would still be dominated by the enemy, sin.

Bob knew that leaving the Army would be difficult. As a regular Army officer, he couldn't get out during wartime, and the Vietnam War was still raging. On the other hand, they couldn't boot a regular officer out just because it was peace time. In spite of that, when he arrived at the career course, he went in to see the commanding officer to start the process. His answer? "Impossible! You can't do that now! You owe the Army a year just for moving you here. If you take the career course, you'll owe us even more. You've been consistently promoted ahead of schedule. Why would you want to get out?”

“Because God has called me to the ministry,” Bob said.

"You might have to wait a couple of years,” his commander said, and he wouldn't do anything to help Bob.

Finally, Bob called the Pentagon and spoke to a major. After a string of cuss words, the major asked, “Why do you want to do this?”

Bob said, “I love the Army, but God has called me to be a minister.” He thought the major would really let him have it, but the major suddenly changed his tune. “Oh! In that case, just fill out these papers and send them directly to me. I’ll hand carry them around to the committee members and get your request approved.”

Within three weeks, Bob received approval to get out of the Army on the exact date he requested so we could move to Springfield, Missouri, in time for him to start the second semester at Central Bible College. Because nothing happens in the military in less than ninety days, we knew for certain that God was leading us.

1 comment:

  1. I had heard the story before but I was riveted to your writing of it!